Orange Order launches online declaration against Northern Ireland Protocol

The Orange Order has launched an online declaration against the Northern Ireland Protocol, urging people to join it in rejecting the EU trading restrictions.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 1:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 1:57 pm
The Orange Order is asking people to sign the declaration. Photo: Press Eye, Jonathan Porter.
The Orange Order is asking people to sign the declaration. Photo: Press Eye, Jonathan Porter.

The order tweeted a link to the declaration today and urged people to demonstrate their opposition to the protocol with an online signature.

The declaration reads: “I, the undersigned, affirm my opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol and its mechanisms and structures.

“I pledge my support for the Declaration signed by Unionist political leaders on 28th September 2021 which stated that the Northern Ireland Protocol must be rejected and replaced by arrangements which fully respect Northern Ireland’s position as a constituent and integral part of the United Kingdom.”

In September the Order issued a statement affirming the joint declaration by Unionist party leaders stating their opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“The Orange family stands foursquare with them in their opposition,” it said in a statement.

“Unionism has repeatedly made its position clear through meetings, rallies, statements and interviews that we will not allow our Sovereignty to be diminished nor our cherished position as equal citizens within the United Kingdom eroded.

“There have been seemingly endless negotiations and diplomacy over nine months to address the concerns around the Protocol - but to no avail. The EU is clearly not prepared to listen.

“It is now time for our Government to act without further procrastination, which has to date simply pushed the problem down the road. The situation requires clear, immediate and decisive action.”

This week DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said his party will hold back on its threat to collapse Stormont over the Protocol for a few more weeks to enable negotiations between the UK and EU to continue.

The party leader has faced questions at to why he has not followed through on his ultimatum to withdraw ministers from Stormont at the end of October – thus collapsing powersharing – if major changes to the contentious Irish Sea trading arrangements had not been secured by that date.

There have been suggestions the hijacking and burning of a bus in a loyalist area of Newtownards, Co Down, on Monday morning was timed to mark the DUP’s missed deadline.

Condemning the “paramilitary elements” behind the attack, Sir Jeffrey insisted they would not influence his political strategy to remove the Irish Sea border.

He said it would be “churlish” to pull down Stormont at this point, claiming the UK Government was making progress in efforts to slash the red tape burden imposed by the protocol.

His comments come as negotiations between the EU and UK remain deadlocked.

The Government has signalled it will move to unilaterally suspend elements of the protocol – by triggering a mechanism known as Article 16 – if an agreed outcome is not reached by the end of November.

The oversight role of the European Court of Justice in policing the operation of the protocol remains a key sticking point in the negotiations.

“It would be churlish in the face of that progress to now move precipitously in relation to what I have warned about if we don’t get the outcome that we need,” said Sir Jeffrey.

“Now, I’m prepared to give a little more time for those negotiations to reach a conclusion and that conclusion has to mean agreement on the removal of the Irish Sea border.

“If that doesn’t happen, I expect the Government, as the Prime Minister said last week, to take unilateral action. The Prime Minister has said that the conditions exist to trigger Article 16 and I expect that to happen. If these things don’t happen, then I will act. I’ve made that absolutely clear.

“My strategy remains as it has been. But, given the progress that we’re making towards the objectives that we want to achieve, I’m prepared to give a little more time to achieve those objectives.”

See the Order’s declaration here.

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